Cucumber and Wakame Salad
from Step-By-Step Japanese Cooking
Serves four. This recipe is a bit time consuming for a side salad, but it will leave you with extra dashi--a wonderful Japanese broth.
7 ½ c cold water
4 in piece kombu seaweed (edible kelp)
2 Tb dried bonito flakes
½ tsp salt
3 Tb rice vinegar
2 Tb dashi
2 Tb soy sauce
1 Tb sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 Tb mirin
1 Tb dried wakame seaweed
1 Tb ginger, chopped finely into needles
To make dashi: Put kombu and 1 Tb bonito flakes with the cold water in a large saucepan and heat just to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the stock is reduced by a third. Add the other tablespoon of bonito flakes and immediately remove the saucepan from the heat. The flakes to settle, then strain off through a cheesecloth-lined sieve.
To make the salad: Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds. Cut into paper-thin slices. Dissolve ½ tsp salt in ½ cup cold water, add the cucumber, and leave to soak for 20 minutes. Put the cucumber into cheesecloth to drain. Squeeze the cucumber gently to remove excess moisture. Combine the rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of dashi, soy sauce, sugar, salt and mirin in a small saucepan, and heat to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and chill. Trim the wakame seaweed and chop coarsely. Combine the wakame and cucumber in a bowl and spoon the chilled dressing over them. Toss gently. Arrange neat mounds of salad in individual bowls. Garnish with a little chopped ginger.